“They tore up the United States like no one has ever done before,” Trump said of China, the way he “attacked” our factories “and” totaled “American industry, leaving Beijing as his central foil. . Fight the rest of the months leading up to his re-election campaign.
Trump called on China to “spy for the theft of our industrial privacy, many of which include” measures to protect American investors from Chinese financial practices, accusing Beijing of “illegally claiming the Pacific” and threatening navigation freedom.
The president said the United States would take action against a number of other fronts, including barring Chinese and Hong Kong officials from entering the United States and allowing Chinese and Hong Kong officials to play a direct or indirect role in “worrying” Hong Kong’s independence. .
“US-China relations are in crisis,” said Richard Fontaine, CEO of the Center for New American Security. “We have hit the floor and are falling through. Beijing will respond to the administration’s move in Hong Kong, and then the ball will return to the president’s court. The situation will get worse – probably worse – before they get better.”
Trump’s announcement was a multi-part solution to trade, telecommunications, media, student visas, the South China Sea, the coronavirus, and most recently the question of Hong Kong’s autonomy.
The Cantonese-speaking enclave was handed over from the UK to China in 1997 under an agreement aimed at preserving Hong Kong’s autonomy in domestic affairs, including the judiciary, and ensuring that citizens could vote for their leaders.
“China unilaterally imposed controls on Hong Kong’s security this week,” Trump said Friday, calling it “a clear violation of Beijing’s obligations under the agreement with the United Kingdom.”
As a result, Trump has said that Hong Kong is “not particularly autonomous for the way we treat the region” and that his administration will “begin the process of waiving the policy of giving Hong Kong a separate and special treatment.”
Trump said their extradition treaty with Hong Kong would affect the “full range” of existing agreements, including export controls on dual-use technology. The president also said the United States would reject Hong Kong’s preferred customs and travel status.
Chad Bowen, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said rejecting Hong Kong’s special status and raising Trump’s tariffs in the enclave “would have an immediate effect”, which could hit the US in 2019 with less than 5 5 billion worth of goods imported from Hong Kong. .
China is likely to strike again
In comparison, the United States imported ৪ 2.452 billion worth of goods from China in 2012. But Bowen noted that Beijing could strike in a way that could hurt American business.
“Ironically, China will be more effective in favor of trade if it responds to raising and enforcing Hong Kong’s trade policy,” Bowen said. “If Beijing is able to somehow increase its retaliatory tariffs, it will have a big impact, as the United States exports more than ৩০ 30 billion a year to Hong Kong.”
Trump added that the State Department’s travel adviser for Hong Kong would be amended “to reflect the increased danger of surveillance and punishment by Chinese state security apparatus.” ”
Some former officials said Trump’s response could hurt Hong Kong residents.
“The provisions concerning Hong Kong in Trump’s announcement were fairly vague, and it remains to be seen how quickly and widely they will be implemented,” said Danny Russell, a former Asia director at the National Auxiliary Council who is now a vice president. At the Asia Society Policy Institute. “But it’s not at all clear that removing Hong Kong’s special privileges would make things better for those of us who want to help, and would actually inadvertently accelerate the decline of their autonomy.”
‘Brave’ and appropriate
“The president’s response to Hong Kong is bold and I think it’s appropriate,” said Fontaine, a former State Department official and NSC official. “Beijing should create an American response to end Hong Kong’s separate political system, by ending Hong Kong’s special economic position. The administration has raised and raised questions about democracy and human rights abroad, and I’m glad it stands.”
Trump widely expected to impose sanctions on Chinese students, about 350,000 of whom come to study in the United States each year, and senior cabinet officials indicated that restricting their access would be just one of the few steps the president would take.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said in an interview with Fox News on Thursday that Trump would make “one announcement after another” to China in the coming days, and suggested that visa bans on Chinese graduate students and researchers could be among them.
Shortly after Trump’s remarks, the White House issued a presidential announcement suspending U.S. entry for undergraduate and graduate students and researchers from China, which takes effect Monday afternoon and remains in effect until terminated by the president.
Authorities in the People’s Republic of China “use some Chinese students, mostly postgraduate students and doctoral researchers, to act as obsolete collectors of intellectual property,” the declaration said. These students “are at high risk of being exploited or collaborated by PRC authorities and provide specific reasons for concern.”
The declaration declared that it would be in the interests of the United States for these students to enter the United States to study or conduct research in the United States.
Trump’s announcement on Friday is just the latest in a series of restrictions his administration has imposed on Chinese students and other Chinese entities.
In 2018, the State Department issued new time restrictions on Chinese graduate student visas in areas such as aviation, robotics and advanced manufacturing, which are considered sensitive to national security, with student durations ranging from five to just five years.
CNN’s Jason Hoffman, Jennifer Hensler and Kylie Atwood contributed to this report.